Help design a new online program for family and friends supporting paramedics
To better support paramedics experiencing mental ill-health and suicidal distress, Everymind is seeking the help of their family and friends to design a new online program.
Paramedics are regularly ranked as "the most trusted profession" in Australia. However, they experience disproportionate rates of trauma, PTSD, psychological distress and suicidal behaviour. More than half of those experiencing mental ill-health do not seek treatment or formal support.
Family members and friends provide most of the practical and emotional support for paramedics and are therefore key to improving the mental health and wellbeing of their loved ones.
Everymind Program Manager, Dr Sally Fitzpatrick, acknowledges that while this support role is often fulfilling, it can also be challenging for family and friends.
“Supporting a paramedic who is experiencing mental ill-health or suicidal distress can be very rewarding, but being their support person can often come at a significant physical, emotional and social cost.” Dr Fitzpatrick said.
“So, it is also important that we build the knowledge and skills of family and friends to provide care and that their own wellbeing is supported. Our new Minds Together program will assist people in supporting paramedics while fostering their own wellbeing”.
By taking a short online survey, family and friends can ensure that the program provides them with what they need to support their loved ones.
“The experiences, knowledge and advice of family and friends supporting a paramedic experiencing mental ill-health or suicidal distress must be at the front and centre of this program. We greatly value the time, knowledge and insights they can share to help their peers.”
The program will be delivered online, offering stories of lived experiences from fellow paramedic first responders and their family members. It will also feature a moderated social networking platform where users can connect with peers and overcome feelings of isolation.